Rude behavior by an employee toward peers or management represents a lack of respect for your small business. A human resources representative needs to develop a checklist protocol for dealing with this type of employee infraction. A guide to dealing with an unruly worker is necessary to both remedy the situation and to ensure proper steps are taken to protect the company from possible retaliation by the employee.


It is important for the HR professional to respond promptly when an employee files a complaint against another employee for rude behavior. The account must be investigated. Privately speak to the person reporting the alleged behavior. Document what the employee says for reference. Consider any past reports regarding the associate in question to determine if he has a history of disciplinary problems or pattern of ill behavior. Gather your documentation in preparation to meet with the accused associate.

Protocol Violation

A checklist for rude actions by employees must include a determination of whether the worker has violated company policy. For this reason, it is necessary for the HR representative to review the employee handbook and document what protocol, if any, has been violated. For example, the company's manual might state that employees are forbidden from making vulgar remarks or gestures. If this particular policy was violated, the HR professional needs to point to it when meeting with the offending employee.


A key component of the HR checklist for handling rude behavior by workers is a confidential discussion with the accused. The representative should approach the matter directly by sharing the accounts of observed rude actions and how these violated company protocol. For example, if the worker made sarcastic remarks to a manager, the employee should be reminded of the incident and provided with specific details. HR should then give the employee a chance to talk about the circumstances and encouraged to share any concerns she has that might have led to inappropriate actions.

Performance Improvement Plan

The HR representative can help devise a strategy to help the employee once he is made aware of the allegations of bad behavior on his part. This plan might include mediation between the worker and another employee if his rude behavior was directed toward a single individual. Another aspect of a performance improvement strategy might involve the worker removing himself from situations that are likely to tempt him to act inappropriately. For example, if the worker finds it difficult not to react negatively when he overhears his peers conversing, he could move his work to a more remote area. The performance improvement plan should be written and then signed by the HR manager and the employee who agrees to work on his behavior.

Disciplinary Actions

When attempts to modify the behavior of a troublesome employee fail, it is time to initiate disciplinary action. The HR professional should check that she follows the appropriate steps for dealing with situations involving rude actions. For example, a verbal warning should be issued prior to written action. The employee should be made aware of each stage in the process and informed as to the consequences of continued inappropriateness. If the employee fails to improve his behavior after a performance improvement plan is in place, the following action could be suspension or even termination. The HR professional should document each disciplinary action and keep these records in the worker's personnel file.